Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Grand Hyatt Singapore

This is one of difficult hotels to make reservation i.e. is always full. However, I had luck that day and managed to get a room although I made reservation only one day earlier than check-in date. As said by my friend before, this hotel was excellent in term of facilities and no doubt the best thing I liked was its DVD player. It played almost every format including DiVX and Windows Media. The TV that was attached to the wall also offered probably one of the most channels you've ever seen. All major languages' TVs were available including Yoga channel. Yoga mat was also available in the room should guests like to follow instructions from the channel. I tried once but had no 'feeling'..

Foods was not a problem here as its main restaurant, Straits Kitchen offered Halal food. I remembered one of its outstanding and 'hyperactive' Malay waitress there who liked to sing while guiding guests to assigned seats. One thing I didn't like was she thought I was an Indonesian. Sorry, Indonesian friends, I don't mean to insult but this is the reality that a lot of rich people from Indonesia like to go to Singapore and now Bahasa Indonesia is everywhere in Singapore, overriding its sister's dialect, Bahasa Melayu Singapura. Wonder why those rich people like to go to Singapore, not KL which on the other hand has become homes to thousand or perhaps millions of lower-income Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (TKI) or affectionately known to local as Mat Indon or Minah Indon. Probably KL is further and the airfare is more expensive.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ginger Coconut Drink

Somewhere in Cheng, near Cheng Mutiara apartment, on the way to Alor Gajah from Malacca town, you won't fancy that a small stall selling coconut juice is actually no ordinary stall.

Called Bertam Malim Fresh Coconut, a specialty at the stall is coconut juice mixed with ginger. The drink is so delicious and the taste of the ginger in the coconut juice also gives you a unique aroma in your mouth. You can quench your thirst with this unique recipe during hot day. The stall is open from mid day until late afternoon.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Towers is undoubtedly Kuala Lumpur's most popular landmark. The 88-storey twin buildings was once the tallest building in the world. Although there are few more buildings which have now surpassed Petronas Twin Tower as the world's tallest building, such as in Taiwan and China, which the latter is being built, it is still regarded as the tallest twin tower in the world!

Located at the heart of Kuala Lumpur city, called Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), it is accessible by public transportation such as bus, taxi and underground train. There is also one big shopping complex there called Suria KLCC, which you can find almost everything including international brands as well as unique local brands.

For those who like seeing KL from high above, you may go up to Skybridge which connects both twin towers at levels 41-42. The admission is free but you have to queue and no reservation is allowed. The Skybridge is open from 9.00AM to 7.00PM daily except on Monday. So, be sure you come early and ticket is issued as early as 8.30AM.

View bigger pictures here.

View in the Skybridge.

View down under Skybridge.

KL at dusk.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

SMART Tunnel Now Opened

14 May 2007

Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel or SMART Tunnel has finally been opened to public starting today. This is a new architectural landmark in Kuala Lumpur and has featured in Discovery Channel. The tunnel has dual purpose which is to mitigate flood and also to serve as two-storey highway.

In the morning, I thought of getting the first time experience driving into the newly-built tunnel but couldn't make it as I was late. However, after a long working hours, I managed to drive there. From the North, the tunnel can be accessed via Jalan Tun Razak near to Menara RHB/Kg. Pandan round about or from Jalan Sultan Ismail (Bukit Bintang). The tunnel ends at KL-Seremban Highway near to TUDM Sungai Besi.

It was an enjoyable driving experience since everybody was not rushing while seeing the internal view of the spectacular tunnel. The ride was smooth but the tunnel is not straight as it has to cut through underground pilings of KL buildings. For the first month, motorist can enjoy free access but the toll charge for the subsequent months has not been finalised yet. Think everybody expects this will be the highest ever toll rate in KL since the costs associated with this mega project were huge.

When reaching the end of the tunnel, there were toll booths. Due to testing period, drivers with Touch&Go card and SmartTAG still had to use them. However, the value inside was not deducted as the access was still free.

I made U-turn at Cheras/Taman Desa flyover and drove back into the tunnel to the North. In the tunnel, local radio frequencies are displayed for drivers to tune in to get the latest updates on the tunnel condition. As the tunnel has dual purpose which one of them is to mitigate flood, during heavy rain, the highway will be closed and will be flooded with rainwater. In emergency cases, there are staircase to climb up to the ground level. Hopefully there will be no cases whereby drivers have to leave their cars when the water floods in. Think every driver now has to consider buying catastrophe insurance for every car.

Before reaching the other end of the tunnel, the highway splited into two directions. Once headed to Jalan Tun Razak while the other one to Jalan Sultan Ismail. I took the latter one. The tunnel is linked to Jalan Imbi/Jalan Pudu and Jalan Sultan Ismail junction, near to Berjaya Times Square. For shopping craze, it is now easier to go shopping at Bukit Bintang.

The tunnel entrance from the North via Jalan Tun Razak.

The tunnel view.

More tunnel view.

No toll charge yet.

Entrance from South.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru is the southernmost city in Peninsular Malaysia and located at the border of Malaysia-Singapore, which is connected to Singapore via a causeway across Tebrau Strait.

Johor Bahru is well-known as a shopping hub especially to Singaporean who enjoy cheaper currency rate here. A lot of shopping complexes as well as hypermarkets can be found everywhere in Johor Bahru.

Johor Bahru is also popular with its food. If you fancy seafood, you may go to Lido Beach or Permas Jaya. You can also find Mi Rebus at Stulang. If you like dining on a tree while enjoying local cultural show, you may try Nasi Beriani Gam at Anjung Warisan, which is located near to Hutan Bandar.

A lot of new development projects are underway in Johor Bahru. To ease the congestion at the immigration check point, which is regarded as the world's most busiest immigration check point, a project called Southern Integrated Gateway (Malay: Gerbang Selatan Bersepadu) is being completed. It includes main railway station, a new customs, immigration and quarantine complex (CIQ) and JB Sentral, a new transport hub.

Under Malaysia 9th Plan, Johor Bahru is also included under the Iskandar Development Region (IDR). The objective of this project is to develop the area to be the Southern Peninsular Malaysia's most developed region, where living, entertainment, environment and business seamlessly converge within a bustling and vibrant metropolis.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Malaysia F1 Grand Prix 2007 at Sepang

Had chance again to attend F1 race at Sepang this year. Initially thought of canceling the trip due to an illness but somehow recovered on time. What a race this year seeing McLaren rookie, Hamilton outpaced Ferrari. (Of course I have to be a McLaren fan - wanna know why? - ask me..) This year also recorded the highest attendance despite "threat" from Singapore to be a new F1 host. Personally, I feel it's still a long way for Singapore to host a race at night. A lot of safety factors, lightings and venue have to be detailed out.

The race is starting.

'Home team' - BMW Sauber

The winner going to the pit lane. Notice dark clouds pouring down heavy rain downtown KL but not here in Sepang. If it's rain, what a race!

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Nyonya Food, Melaka

It's always nice to be in Melaka because of its various types of foods available there. Due to long history, there are so many ethnics here including intermarriage such as Portuguese-Malay and Chinese-Malay or better known as Baba and Nyonya.

This intermarriage hundreds years ago has created assimilation of cultures including foods. Here I would like to share on Baba and Nyonya foods. They have influences of Malay and Chinese-style cooking.

One of famous restaurant in Melaka is Restoran Ole Sayang. It's located downtown Melaka at Taman Melaka Raya. A lot of specialties you can try such as Pong Teh Chicken, Asam Pedas Fish and Cendol (dessert).

Pong Teh Chicken

Asam Pedas Fish

Restaurant address

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Seafood in Melaka

This is a must visit place if you are in Melaka. Apart from visiting the historical area downtown, visitors should try local seafood for dinner. Located not far from the town, I recommend going to Alai. The food there is cheaper and the quality is not bad too. This is a very good alternative if you always go to other tourists-oriented seafood places such as Umbai.

I have tried seafood at a stall called Medan Ikan Bakar Haji Musa and it was excellent. As usual in Melaka, seafood is eaten with Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice). Nasi Lemak is readily-served, wrapped in banana leave, in a small portion. If one wrap is not enough for you, you can always take another one as waiters normally send more than one wrap of Nasi Lemak for each person. If not, you can always ask from them. But, be cautioned! Nasi Lemak contains high fat. If you're on diet, be watchful! Enjoy seafood more!

Seafood here is fresh as the place is actually located very near to the sea. You can choose your own seafood and order according to your preferred style. If you choose fish, you can have sweet and sour cooking or locals called it tiga rasa or literally translated three-flavours style i.e. sweet, sour and salty. You can also enjoy mussels (lala) served either boiled or grilled.

Please also don't forget Otak-Otak, a kind of local delicacy made from fish flesh, flour and chili, wrapped and grilled in coconut leave. (I saw this delicacy name was wrongly spelled in Singapore as Otah-Otah, it should be Otak-Otak.) And the last thing you wouldn't want to miss is Prawn Satay, another version of butter prawn.

If you can't speak Malay, or can't even speak English, don't worry. The Malay owner here can also speak Mandarin. She's actually half Malay and half Chinese.

Be sure you're heading to stall number 10, Gerai Ikan Bakar Haji Musa.

Nasi Lemak served in small portion but you can always ask for more.

Otak-Otak hidden in coconut leave.

Boiled mussel.

Sweet and sour fish.

Prawn Satay

How to get there?
If you're from Melaka town, please head towards Muar using old road. After Kampung Kandang traffic light, before you reach a bridge, bear right and turn to the right into the first small road before a river. Then go straight until you reach a T-junction, then turn to the left. You'll reach an eating place. If you miss the right turn from the main road, you still have another alternative road, refer maps provided:

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